Pat Cash, Tennis Player, and Feldenkrais

Pat Cash: Feldenkrais is one of the most effective ways I’ve found to unlock tight muscles and reprogram lost movement patterns after an injury. It is very gentle on the body yet really tricky on the mind. I often do a session before tennis. By doing unusual movements, brain mapping connections are created that train the body to move in new ways while preventing burn out.

pat cash

“Feldenkrais ist eine der effektivsten Methoden, die ich gefunden habe, um verspannte Muskeln zu lösen und verlorene Bewegungsmuster nach einer Verletzung neu zu programmieren. Es ist sehr sanft für den Körper, aber sehr schwierig für den Verstand. Ich mache oft einen Unterricht vor dem Tennis. Durch ungewöhnliche Bewegungen werden Gehirnmapping-Verbindungen hergestellt, die den Körper darin trainieren, sich auf neue Weise zu bewegen und Burnout zu verhindern.”

 

How to photograph Feldenkrais treatments

I came across some very nice photos on the following website www.sonjajohansson.com

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They do a lot of things very nicely, and a few things not so well.  The practitioner is well lit and attractively dressed.  The lighting on the floor is atmospheric, and the brightness of the windows adds dramatic impact. The room looks calm and the treatment positions show the viewing public that the place and the practitioner are professional, comfortable, and inviting.

On the other hand, the background is visually cluttered: the radiator, plant and screen should be out of sight, to keep the focus in the foreground. The fifth photo would look very nice with the crown of the practitioner’s head in shot.  Perhaps also the lying man would look better with his head less tightly cropped in the fourth photo, but in any case his foot needs to be either fully in, or fully out, of the shot.

On balance, I would be very happy if I had produced photos as attractive as these are.  With a little reframing and attention to the background, they could be even better.

Yoga vs Feldenkrais? Yoga wins.

“Feldenkrais Method is an educational system that allows the body to move and function more efficiently and comfortably. Its goal is to re-educate the nervous system and improve motor ability.” (Gale Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine, COPYRIGHT 2005 The Gale Group, Inc.)

Feldenkrais is a powerful and effective health and movement technique.  But it’s terrible  at marketing.

Compare the clarity and attractiveness of  images in an internet search for ‘Yoga’….

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… and for Feldenkrais.

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The yoga images are attractively lit, and well posed and framed. The backgrounds are mostly clean and free of distractions.

The Feldenkrais photos are documentary style, showing something happening or a situation.  Framing, posing and lighting are often poor.  The backgrounds in the photos are cluttered and distracting.

It would be wonderful if the Feldenkrais guilds and associations, as well as the individual practitioners began to produce clean, clear, inspirational photos that clearly convey the purpose of Feldenkrais Method to the public.

Book Review – Kids Beyond Limits

Kids Beyond Limits is the second Anat Baniel book I have bought.  The first, Move Into Life, was not much to my liking, due to what I perceived as its north American whoo-hoo style of writing, which does not resonate with me.

So I bought Kids Beyond Limits with certain hesitation.  And yet it turned out that I was wrong.  And Anat was right.  Kids Beyond Limits is a wonderful and useful book for parents of ‘challenged’ children, and also as a summary of technique and approach for the ‘young’ Feldenkrais Method teacher.

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Kids Beyond Limits is a how-to guide for all parents who want to help their child who is ‘challenged’, behavioural issues to medical problems.  It is a concise description of ways in which we can help improve the life of our loved ones, through movement and learning, to be better and happier than ever.

Her 9 key elements are approaches for how parents can relate to their child, change the way their child relates to the world, and bring about real change in the way the child behaves.  It is both very clear, and very empowering for parents.

The actual concepts are are not new, and can be found in the classics written by Moshe Feldenkrais, Body and Mature Behaviour, The Potent Self, and The Elusive Obvious, amongst others.

feldenkrais canon

But what is nice is Baniel’s giving each one a chapter, creating clarity for the general public.

This book will be of great use to parents of children, and even for adults themselves, who suffer from conditions such as are listed on the cover – autism, Asperger’s, ADHD, etcetera, or who  are generally ‘less in this world’ than is normal.

In order to get the most out of the book, I recommend connecting with a professional somatic educator – from Feldenkrais Method, Anat Baniel, or Alexander Technique, amongst others.  Professional guidance can speed up or give shape and direction to the process.

This book, Kids, has transformed my opinion of Baniel’s work, and her emblematic presence as a focus of PR for Feldenkrais Method.

Kids Beyond limits has given me much of value with my own work with handicapped children.

I highly recommend this book.  Five out of five stars.

Death is the Answer

Central to Moshe Feldenkrais’ writings and legacy is the capacity of human kind to learn and thus to change.

Ability for something and actually doing it are two different things.  What do other writers think about man’s propensity to change?

In 1947 W.H Auden published the poem The Age of Anxiety.

poet

We would rather be ruined than changed,
We would rather die in our dread
Than climb the cross of the moment
And let our illusions die.

This month’s January 9 2016 edition of The Economist magazine discusses black holes.question answer

In 1783 John Michell reasoned they must be out there.  In 1916 Karl Schwarzschild calculated how big they would be. In 1930 Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar showed that big enough stars were doomed to become them.  Yet it took until the 1970s to convince holdouts among astronomers that black holes actually exist.

Max Planck wrote

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A scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.

A final word goes to the novelist Louis L’Amour in The Lonely Men.

Even those who fancy themselves the most progressive will fight against other kinds of progress, for each of us is convinced that our way is the best way.

How can one best act so that an idea is accepted?

Moshe Feldenkrais Biography & Biografie

A while back I wrote a post about the absence of biographical information on Moshe Feldenkrais.  Between his death in 1984 and the date of my post, no biography had yet been published.  As a student of the Feldenkrais Method, I felt a fear that Feldenkrais world was not creating a profile and persona for itself, commensurate to its importance, and its potential.

a life in movement

And then, like the mythical bus, two books came along together.  Different authors, different language even (german and english), different price.

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After a wait of 31 years, in September 2015 Mark Reese published (posthumously)  ‘A life in Movement’, volume 1 of 2, priced at 47$.  Christian Buckard’s book which appeared on the 14th September is called ‘Moshé Feldenkrais. Der Mensch hinter der Methode’ (‘Moshe Feldenkrais. The Man behind the Method’), priced at 24€.

I ordered Buckard’s book before it was published.  But not Reese’s, having been put off by price of shipping and the unknown customs charges.

Having read Buckard’s book, I was entranced by the facts, the information, the biography, the learning. I read it as fast as I could, turning to my german dictionary when necessary, although the style and vocabulary are accessible to any one with mid-level german language. I strongly recommend anyone who has ever studied german to read Buckhard’s accessible, readable, satisfying account of Feldenkrais’ origins, life experiences, and creation of the method which carries his name.

One final observation on the two books.  Buckard is a journalist; his book is available on Amazon, costs 24€ plus a few euro’s postage.  Reese was a Feldenkrais insider; his book is not available on Amazon, only through a specialist website, costs 47$, and at the time of my writing, 29.70$ to ship.

It makes me wonder whether the Feldenkrais world operates within a closed club, where materials are not placed in the most public, visible, accessible place; where the biggest sources of information are professional websites with locked member-only access areas; where the wonderful success of individual teachers across the world is not paralled by an over-arching, industry-wide strategy of marketing, to put the method onto a footing for future success.

The best marketing comes from people who are not within the sector, and from whom it can be hoped, but not guaranteed, that they will shed such a positive light on the method, as did Norman Doidge in his most recent book.

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I may have misinterpreted the situation, but this is my take on it so far.  Correct me if needs be with informative feedback.

50 Shades of Moshe (13) – Liz Brody in the LA Times

This is a very descriptive explanation of what Feldenkrais method is – or rather, what it brings you.  This whole article can be read here in the LA Times.  I first found the article here, http://www.feldenkraisinterest.com.

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“Feldenkrais … teaches students to become aware of their bodies and move as seamlessly as possible. For an actor, that can mean getting into character more convincingly; for an Olympian, shaving the winning second off a sprint, for a stroke patient, learning to walk again.  As for the rest of us, it could be just what the trainer ordered.

Rather than a replacement for those calorie-blasting workouts that rev the engines, Feldenkrais is the oil that can perfect your performance and stop you from getting rusty over time.”

Unleash The Power Of The Beast

Or, “’50 shades of Moshé (12)’, How Not to Market Feldenkrais.”  

champion_beast

Whilst searching for someone else’s good idea of how to describe Feldenkrais Method,  I  found that quite a number of teachers use similar phrases.  Perhaps they are picked up from their professional organisation.

One example is the word ‘verbally’.

“ATM lessons are verbally guided movement sequences, which help to clarify fundamental biological movement patterns and bring you closer to your potential…

“The ATM teacher verbally leads the class through a sequence of gentle exercises that gradually evolve into greater range and complexity.

“In group Awareness Through Movement lessons, the Feldenkrais teacher verbally leads you through a sequence of movements in basic positions

Verbally guided. -Clear?  ..to clarify fundamental biological movement patterns?  Clear? .. as mud….

Marketing descriptions are often of benefits. Take a look at the wow-zacious marketing text of the frisbee pictured above: The Beast is a long distance driver with a gliding, predictable finish. The Beast’s high glide, high speed and high speed turn all combine to give big distance. It is suitable for beginners and pros alike.

I want one.

It will make me look good even if I’m not.  I’m so happy it’s not called an ‘orange moulded plastic flying plate‘.

It’s funny that the word ‘verbal’ is in focus in these Feldenkrais descriptions.  Does ‘verbal’ hinder the consumer’s understanding of the product?   How could we take this description of the Beast and apply it to Feldenkrais?